US Soldiers • Compete for the Highly Coveted Expert Soldier Badge
History of the Expert Soldier Badge
The Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) is a special awards skill awarded to those who have completed and passed evaluation, and who do not serve in Infantry, Medical or Special Forces branches.
First announced on the Army’s 244th birthday in 2019, the badge is meant to recognize those who have met a high standard of performance in physical fitness and warfighting tasks. To gain the ability to try their hand at ESB, Soldiers must be within height and weight standards, receive recommendation from their chain of command, qualify as an expert on their assigned weapon and pass an Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) within the last six months.
The ESB was implemented after a shift in the Army’s training tactics and its desire to push units and their Soldiers to master basic combat skills, even when not serving in front line units.
The pass rate for the ESB sat at 10% in 2022, with over 20,000 Soldiers having been evaluated since its implementation. While not in the ranks of the most difficult to earn special skills badges, the ESB still serves as an important distinguishing award that can put Soldiers a step ahead in their Army career.
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